Fix Canker Sores
Canker sores can be easily diagnosed with a visual examination. Sometimes, if they are chronic and severe, canker sores can indicate underlying health issues, and these should be determined and addressed. When they are infrequent or minor, however, they are not usually indicative of any larger issues. It may not be necessary to treat less-severe canker sores, as these usually clear up within a couple of weeks. If your canker sores are unusually painful or persistent, however, they may require medical attention. Thankfully, there are multiple treatment options that can relieve the discomfort of canker sores.
Mouth rinses that contain the steroid dexamethasone can diminish the pain and inflammation associated with canker sores, and mouth rinses that contain lidocaine can be used to reduce pain. These rinses are available by prescription. There are also over-the-counter and prescription options available that can relieve pain and expedite healing when applied to sores early shortly after they emerge. Active ingredients in these topical pastes, gels, liquids, and creams include benzocaine, fluocinonide, and hydrogen peroxide. Other topical applications may be effective in treating canker sores without these medically active ingredients, and your dentist or doctor can recommend one that may work best for you.
When canker sores do not respond to these topical options, oral medication may be recommended. The two main types of oral medications used for canker sores include medications that were originally intended for other uses, such as the coating agent sucralfate, which is usually used to treat intestinal ulcers, and oral steroid medications. Oral steroids are usually only prescribed when all other treatments fail, as they can lead to serious side effects. Doctors may also recommend cautery of canker sores, a process in which a tool or substance is used to burn the surface of the canker sore, destroying its tissues. Chemical cauterization with a solution like debacterol can significantly expedite healing time for canker sores. Silver nitrate, which is sometimes used for chemical cauterization, has not been shown to decrease healing time, but it is believed to reduce the pain of canker sores. Rinsing the mouth with salt water or baking soda solution can help relieve the pain of canker sores, as can milk of magnesia applied topically. Acidic or spicy foods may increase irritation and pain and should be avoided when possible. Ice may help relieve the pain of canker sores, and it’s important to brush the teeth gently when canker sores are present, to avoid irritation.
Canker sores can also be related to nutritional deficiencies. If you are found to have low levels of folate, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, or zinc, your doctor may prescribe a supplement to increase your levels of these important nutrients. When canker sores are found to be connected to a more serious underlying health issue, your doctor will either treat the underlying condition or will refer you to a specialist to do so. If you do visit your dentist to diagnose and treat a canker sore, be prepared to provide a complete medical history, including a list of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you may take and any known medical conditions you may have.